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EU MPs condemn rape as 'weapon of war', use of child soldiers in South Sudan

EU MPs condemn rape as 'weapon of war', use of child soldiers in South Sudan

South Sudan

Legislators in the European Parliament say they are concerned about current ongoings in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan. They said they were also concerned over attacks on humanitarian workers.

The MPs in a resolution issued last Thursday said they were particularly concerned over the used of rape as a weapon of war and news about the use of child soldiers in the country’s armed crisis which has been worsened by a famine and humanitarian crisis.

‘‘Parliament calls for a ceasefire in the civil war in South Sudan, which broke out in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused former vice-president Riek Machar of plotting a coup d’état, and has caused famine and forced over 3.6 million people to flee their homes,’‘ an accompanying press release read.

They called for the United Nations mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to be strengthened with European capacities and the need for the European External Action Service (EEAS) to launch a new political process towards full implementation of a 2015 peace agreement.

A recent UN report said government forces had killed over 110 civilians between July 2016 and January this year.

According to the U.N cases included attacks on funerals and indiscriminate shelling of civilians; cases of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls, including those fleeing fighting; often committed in front of the victims’ families.

President Salva Kiir ordered that any soldier convicted of sexual crimes be shot arguing that the body of a woman cannot be taken bu force. The issue of child soldiers has also featured prominently in reportage on the conflict.

Fighting broke out between Kiir and his former First Vice President Riek Machar leading to clashes between their forces. A peace accord brought Machar back to the capital Juba but it was shortlived as renewed clashes broke out in July last year. Machar is currently in South Africa.

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